First I poured boiling water into a cup filled with half a cup of black tea leaves. I brought it to my studio to steep. It’s still steeping. Tomorrow I’ll use it to tea stain the face of Owl Woman.
Then I stitched her eye. Two different browns, orange, metallic gold thread, and black marker for the pupil.
I woke up thinking about her. From 6:15 to 7 am, still half asleep, I pictured how I would stitch her eye and the color thread I’d use. Then the idea of using the same twisted pink yarn I outlined my “Cloud Is A Whisper” tree in, came to me. I imagined how I would sew it down, by hand. I saw her tea-stained face, darker than the tea staining I used on the woman in “Shield of Words“.
After that, in my mind, I tried a few different ways of applying the pieces of applique, that I had removed from the quilt to her dress. By the time I got up, I knew I would be sewing them down, using my free motions machine. I’d create a simplified feather design, leaving the edges untethered to give it a little extra dimension.
But by this afternoon, once I had actually sewed the feathers on, I moved onto the beak and owl eyes/breasts.
There was no question for me what the color of the beak should be. I saw it immediately.
I had a piece of fabric just the right balance of orange/yellow, but then found a piece of one of the collages I’d made earlier. It was the same color except it had some collage layering and I liked the weight and texture of it better than the fabric.
It’s on a piece of canvas with a layer of matt medium over it. I wanted to stitch it down with embroidery thread, but it was so thick I had to poke holes in it.
You can’t see it in this photo, but the blue fabric I used for the eyes/breasts is iridescent. I still have to sew the beads on at the centers, but I’m not completely sure about them yet.
This is what she looked like when I left my studio today. I don’t have any concrete idea how I’ll deal with her arms, legs, and feet yet. But I do know how to make her hair, so I’ll probably work on that next.
I started to take apart the applique that I removed from the quilt that my Owl Woman is on. I pulled out each stitch that someone took so much time sewing together. Then I pinned them onto the Owl Womans’ dress to see what they’d look like.
It’s been a while since I’ve gone into my studio and didn’t know what I’d be doing.
My head has been so filled with the practical work of making, selling and shipping the Dryer Balls, I needed to shift my thinking. To move into my creative self.
I felt like drawing so I took out some linen that my friend Emily gave me and a black marker. Then I looked through some of the collages I made last year and hung the one below on my wall. The imagery for it came from some shadow photos that I took of me and the sheep.
I always liked it but never did anything else with it. I looked to it now for inspiration.
That’s how I came to draw the Owl Woman above.
I like her best of all the drawing I had done. I thought she would work well on an old quilt. So I looked through my stash and decided on one that I’d used for another fabric painting.
I had a lot of anxiety today, more than I’ve had in a long time, and was having a hard time making decisions. Towards the end of the day, I realized that I was trying to figure out what this whole fabric painting should look like before making a commitment to it.
Unless I see a complete image in my mind before I start working on a piece I like to take it one step at a time. The same process I use when I’m making quilts or potholders. Making a commitment to a piece means taking a concrete step towards beginning it. Usually, that means sewing something down or cutting something up.
Today it meant removing some of the appliques on the old quilt.
Taking each step one after another is important to me because each step informs the next. And I can’t get to the second step without the first. And even if I take step, like cutting something and it doesn’t work out, I still have to work with the mistake. And that makes me do something I probably wouldn’t have otherwise.
Working this way takes some of the control away from me. So trust is a key part of it. Trust in the process and in myself.
I removed two of the appliques. I’m thinking about using some of the fabric from them as a part of her dress. Maybe that will be the next step.
I couldn’t help but notice when I looked at the photo of Suzy’s new shawl that in it I saw the same colors as the ones outside her window.
Autumn colors, yes, but look at the green grass and how the ground, beyond it, is the same shades of rust, pale orange, and rich maroons. Suzy calls the chartreuse “hopeful spring grass” but I see that as her interpretation. It’s even speckled with the yellow locks as seen in the gradations of color in the field.
Suzy’s son told her that she has style. “You put colors together that really shouldn’t go together but end up working”, he said.
I think he’s right.
Suzy hand-spins and hand-knits all her shawls. Each one is a unique combination of colors and patterns, no two are exactly alike. She gets her wool from her mohair goats, Lucy, Ruth, April, Alice and Larry. She also supplements it with wool from her favorite fiber artists.
Her shawls are as soft as they look. She washes each one in a natural softening solution.
Suzy’s Winter Fields Shawl is 64″x19″. It’s $150 + $8 shipping. You can buy it in my Etsy Shop, just click here.
It was the sound that drew me to this part of the frozen stream. Not tinkly like the waterfall, but hollow, like a drum. I followed the sound then saw the dark water passing under the ice like the shadow of a cloud.